Exclusive Remedy

Workers Compensation benefits are an injured workers exclusive benefits when injured on the job

A basic principle behind workers compensation is that no one is at fault. In exchange for compensating work-related injuries without regard to fault, the employer receives immunity from being sued at common law by covered employees, and in most cases by their spouse and dependents as well. An employee gives away his right sue an employer for a guarantee of benefits. To say it another way, the worker trades the possibility of filing a civil lawsuit for a guarantee of certain benefits.

Workers are entitled by law to wage loss and medical benefits if they are injured on the job, regardless who was at fault. The worker does not need to prove that the employer was negligent. In return, workers are ordinarily not allowed to sue their employers in a civil action, even if the employer was at fault and the worker was free from blame. Thus, we say that workers compensation is the exclusive remedy for injuries that occur at work. Lawsuits are permitted against parties who were not the worker’s employer or co-workers. These are generally referred to as “third party cases.”

Indiana’s workers compensation law addresses the exclusive remedy doctrine in IC 22-3-2-6. The Indiana Code is available on the State of Indiana website.